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Sun safety

Sun safety
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4 tips that will keep you safe in the sun

Protect your skin from the painful effects of the sun today and from the possibility of developing skin cancer in the years to come.

1.       Think ahead

If you’re travelling somewhere sunny you need to plan ahead. You’ll need sunscreen to protect your skin, sunglasses to protect your eyes, clothing to cover up with and hats with a wide brim. Don’t be fooled into thinking sunburn only happens in exotic locations; some of the worst cases are seen on the ski slopes. Research the climate and don’t get caught out. You dehydrate much quicker in the sun so pack a reusable water bottle to fill up from a safe source throughout the day.

People who need to take extra care in the sun include:

  • children
  • those with fair skin
  • those with fair or red hair
  • those with a tendency to burn rather than tan
  • those with lots of moles
  • older people
  • those with a family history of skin cancer
2.       Slap it on

Sunscreen is vital in the fight against sun damage. You should aim to wear a cream with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 – or 30 for children and those with fair skin – but the higher the better. Make sure it protects against both UVA and UVB rays and that it is not out of date. Apply half an hour before going outside and be warned that it washes off, so you’ll need to reapply after swimming. Make sure you cover all areas exposed to the sun liberally and refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. Reapply regularly and try to stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm.

3.       Cover up

A hat and sunglasses should be your best friends. Even if you have a healthy head of hair, your scalp will be exposed to the sun unless you cover it. Wearing a hat with a wide brim will help protect your face, too. Good sunglasses are important to protect your delicate eyes from the sun’s damaging UV rays and stop you from squinting. If you’re prone to burning it’s not a good idea to expose more of your skin than necessary so choose a lightweight garment to throw over yourself on the beach and opt for caftans, loose-fitting trousers and long sleeves. Keep in the shade as much as possible.

4.       Care for kids

Children are particularly vulnerable in the sun so buy a children’s sunscreen – they are kinder to young skin and provide a high SPF. Hats and sunglasses aren’t always fun to wear and can get thrown off during play so keep an eye on the children, moving them into the shade during the hottest part of the day. Make sure they drink plenty of water and remember to reapply their sunscreen after swimming. Babies shouldn’t be exposed to the sun at all.

If you’re worried about keeping safe in the sun, make an appointment with a travel health nurse for advice and information.